Chicago Crime Lawyer Resources

Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Tests

We have had success suppressing Illinois DUI breathalyzer tests. To learn more, speak with our Chicago DUI attorney today by calling us at (312) 466-9466.

Should I Take the Breathalyzer?

Under Illinois law, the police can only demand that you take a breathalyzer test after you have been placed under arrest for DUI. This requires probable cause. A breathalyzer is a machine that measures the amount of alcohol in your blood. If the police have probable cause and ask you to take the breathalyzer test, they are required to read you warnings listing the consequences of failing the test or refusing to take it. A 20 minute waiting period is also standard before administering the test.

A properly administered breathalyzer test that registers above the legal limit, .08 blood alcohol content, or BAC, is powerful evidence for the prosecution. Attacks can be made on the maintenance and operation of the machine, but they are difficult to win.

There are a variety of suppression motions that the defense may try in order to exclude a breathalyzer test, but not in every case. In addition, the law states that a person operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above .08 is per se guilty. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1). This "per se" law means the prosecution does not have to prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, only that his b.a.l was .08 or above. Without a breathalyzer result, blood test or urine test to prove blood alcohol, the prosecution must prove that the driver was under the influence, usually based on subjective observations. Therefore, a breathalyzer test at .08 or above should be avoided. Conversely, a breathalyzer result of less than .08 will usually result in no DUI charge, though a charge of being under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it impaired a person's ability to drive is still possible. In addition, a person's refusal to take a breathalyzer test is admissible against him or her at trial. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c).

Motorists should keep in mind that it does not take a great deal of alcohol to reach the .08 level. Alcohol levels vary based on factors such as height, weight, and the time a person last ate, but an average man may have a breathalyzer above .08 if he had three beers in a one hour period of time. It is also important to note that a person who drank a great deal the previous evening could have a high blood alcohol level, and that people who have been drinking often underestimate the amount that they drank.

Clearly, if you have had nothing or nearly nothing to drink, you should take the breathalyzer test. Otherwise, there is no clear answer, and a motorist who has been drinking should weigh his or her options very carefully. Once you are arrested for DUI in Illinois, it is imperative that you quickly engage an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer. Call our DUI law firm today at (312) 466-9466 to understand your options and determine the best strategy for winning a DUI case.

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